Success is something that the John Carroll University club hockey team has become accustomed to this season. The Blue Streaks (24-12) wrapped up the 2011-12 regular season of JCU hockey with consecutive wins over the University of Akron at home this past weekend. On Friday night, the Blue Streaks completely overwhelmed the Zips as they came away with a 7-2 win. On Saturday, JCU continued its impressive play by defeating Akron by a final score of 6-4.
Freshman P.J. Spano got the ball rolling early for the Blue Streaks on Friday as he opened up action by scoring a goal with 17 minutes remaining in the first period. The Zips responded by scoring two goals before the end of the first period and managed to take a narrow 2-1 lead with them into the first intermission.
Coming onto the ice for the second period of action, the Blue Streaks came out on fire, scoring two goals in the first seven minutes of the period as senior Geoff Abrahams and junior Jonathan Orr each found the back of the net. The last 13:25 of the second period would result in no more goals for either team and JCU led Akron by a score of 3-2 going into the final period.
Heading into the third and final period with a slim lead over the Zips, the Blue Streaks turned on their jets and began to pour it on Akron as they scored four unanswered goals in the period. Junior Sean Lattal scored the first goal of the third period with 16:24 remaining in the game and senior John Walter scored minutes later with 13:43 remaining to extend JCU’s lead to three, 5-2. To put the exclamation point on the game, Lattal scored again with 8:06 remaining before fellow junior Jesse Dietrick joined the scoring party with 27 seconds remaining in the game, sealing the 7-2 win for the Blue Streaks.
Saturday’s game against the Zips would be quite the opposite path to a win for the Blue Streaks. Senior Danny Geiger scored two first period goals with assists from Orr and Abrahams on the first and freshman Mike Gionta on the second goal. Early in the second period, sophomore Louie Morici scored a goal of his own with 17:37 remaining in the period to give JCU the 3-0 lead. Shortly after, Geiger scored another goal on a power play to give him three in the game at that point as he increased the Blue Streaks’ lead to 4-0 with 15:33 remaining in the second period.
Akron scored a goal less than a minute later and Geiger responded only 31 seconds later by scoring again, his fourth goal of the game, giving JCU the 5-1 advantage.
In the third period, Dietrick scored for the Blue Streaks to push their lead to 6-1, and from there, the Zips scored three goals in the last 12 plus minutes to settle the final score at 6-4 in favor of JCU.
With the wins, the Blue Streaks not only finish the regular season on a six-game win streak, but they also finish with the most wins in Blue Streaks hockey history and an overall record of 24-12.
“Our regular season record was far better than any of us expected coming into the season,” said Morici. “After realizing what potential and depth we had, we knew we could become a force not only in our league, but on a national level.”
With the regular season now also over, JCU will shift its attention to the College Hockey Mid-America playoffs this coming weekend.
With the No. 2 overall seed in the playoffs, the Blue Streaks will receive a first-round bye and play the winner of Pitt and Slippery Rock on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Blade Runners Ice Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“It feels great to have the most wins in Carroll hockey history,” said Morici. “We still have yet to accomplish our goal of winning the league playoffs, so we aren’t satisfied yet.”